JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri state Board of Education voted Friday to approve a plan to intervene in struggling school districts. It also sent the message that it will become more active in making sure districts adopt policies that will result in success.
The plan, revised from a draft version presented to the board last month, spells out various avenues of support that would be provided to or required of school districts depending on how well they score on their annual performance review.
Public schools in Kansas City, Missouri, will remain unaccredited.
The State Board of Education on Tuesday chose to take no action on a request by Kansas City Schools Superintendent R. Stephen Green to grant provisional accreditation, based on this year's assessment scores in which the district placed within the provisional range. But State Board President Peter Herschend says there hasn't been sufficient improvement sustained over a period of time.
With less than three months on the job, Normandy School District Superintendent Tyrone McNichols has a clear plan to regain accreditation from the state and a strong message about the help he needs to make that plan successful.
The main academic components of McNichols' plan involve a new literacy program in partnership with the University of Missouri-St. Louis and a new focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). As part of the focus on STEM, a new science program is being implemented through a partnership with Washington University.
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released its Annual Performance Report for Missouri school districts last week. It is the first year in which schools were assessed under new standards. The results disappointed many local leaders and leave plenty of room for improvement for a number of St. Louis area schools, including St. Louis Public Schools.
This fall the unaccredited Riverview Gardens School District in north St. Louis County will cover transportation costs for students who transfer to the accredited Mehlville School District, which is about 20 miles away.
School system performance is paramount for any family looking to move and start a family, as it was for Rob and Diane Pattershuk, when they moved to Ladue 20 years ago.
They made a good choice – the district offers a several extracurricular activities, advanced placement classes, and was ranked as the top school in the state on this year’s Newsweek poll of America’s Best High Schools.
Legislation has been filed in the Missouri Senate that would lay the groundwork for restoring an elected school board for the city of St. Louis.
The city's school district regained provisional accreditation last September, and if it can maintain it for a full year, the bill would then require that a locally elected school board replace the state-appointed board on July 1st, 2014. It’s sponsored by State Senator Jamilah Nasheed (D, St. Louis).
Lawsuits brought by families who want the St. Louis school district to pay to send their children to an accredited suburban school district are in question after the St. Louis district regained its accreditation last week.
Missouri law requires unaccredited districts to pay tuition and transportation costs to send students living within their boundaries to accredited districts in the same or an adjoining county.